I find it very inspirational to learn from famous women entrepreneurs who had an idea and made it happen. What’s interesting about some of these women is that they didn’t necessarily have the ideal background or circumstances for success but that didn’t hold them back. They overcame their obstacles and became successful in a business world dominated by men.
There is a pattern that emerges when you take a look at what these diverse women entrepreneurs have in common-women like Marky Kay Cosmetics founder Mary Kay Ash, Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, and Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields’ fame. I found three things these famous women entrepreneurs knew and demonstrated about success that I’ve found critical in my life as an entrepreneur.
Three Things Famous Women Entrepreneurs Know…
1. Believe in Yourself
Mary Kay Ash quote: “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember you can achieve.”
I love this quote because the right mindset is the number one determining factor of success in business and in life. I frequently speak about the importance of having a healthy mindset. In fact, I’ve dedicated the entire first section in my Direct Sales Success System to mindset because it’s really the foundation of success.
As you can see in Mary Kay’s quote, to believe in yourself you have to let go of “limiting” beliefs. A “limiting” belief is something that you believe to be true about yourself that is not true and it prevents you from moving forward.
If you believe in yourself-you can achieve your goals. Regardless of your past success (or not), it is completely possible to be successful in the future. It requires your belief and ability to change the story you’ve been telling about your past circumstances. Truly knowing what you want empowers you to put your best thoughts and actions forward.
2. Have a Support System
Anita Roddick quote: “We entrepreneurs are loners, vagabonds, troublemakers. Success is simply a matter of finding and surrounding ourselves with those open-minded and clever souls who can take our insanity and put it to good use.”
What I appreciate about this quote is its self-awareness. Although, I don’t necessarily agree that all entrepreneurs are loners, vagabonds or troublemakers, I do believe that we all have strengths and weaknesses. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned since starting Metromom is that you can’t do it alone. But, you can achieve amazing things when you build a team and leverage each other’s strengths.
If you want to be truly successful, then you must have a fantastic support system. I’ve learned to delegate whether it means having friends to carpool my kids, VA’s to set-up my ezine or business coaches to help me discover the next step in my marketing plan. Learn to enjoy the collaborative process of what others add to the process of building your business.
3. Be of service
Debbi Fields quote: “The principle was right there – you couldn’t miss it. The more you did for your customers, the more they did for us.”
You can see from this quote that her focus was never just on a single sale, it was about creating a long-term meaningful relationship with her customers. When you step out of your own personal focus and begin asking how you can be of service to others, you embark on the path to success.
Customers sense when your focus is on being of service and they reward you with their loyalty. Instead of focusing on “What’s in it for me?” – take the focus off of yourself. Shift your focus to “What am I going to GIVE?”
Whether or not you want to be famous, believing in yourself, having a support system and being of service will help you be a more successful and happier entrepreneur. Yes, there is much that we can learn from these famous women entrepreneurs or from other entrepreneurs in our lives that display true leadership.
It is obvious that people do not always tell what they really think. Understanding the true thoughts of a person will help you become successful. How to acquire this skill? The body language is the key! It is amazing, that knowing the basic principles of body language may help us change our perception of other people and their perception of us.
A great number of latest modern technologies lead to the fact that we are losing the skills of live communication. We are often preoccupied with writing e-mails and talking over the phone rather than communicating face-to-face. This means that we leave off the habit of watching the body language. However, scientists assert that things that we speak mean less than the way they were said. That is why, in order to be successful in business and build a successful career you should take into consideration the following points for making the communication effective:
1. Your voice. Avoid high-pitched and shrilled sounds. Train yourself for a great voice that is gentle and pleasant for the audience. Do not speed up. High speed of your speech can make your listener unconsciously perceive you as not a reliable person.
2. Your posture and gestures. Here are some common negative forms of gestures that should be avoided while giving speech and shall be noticed from a speaker while listening.
Crossed arms on the chest often connote a defensive posture, which can indicate that a listener is disinterested in the speaker’s message. The more tightly arms are held and the higher they are crossed on the chest, the louder are the listeners negative emotions.
Fidgeting or playing with hair may reveal the fear, anxiety or diffidence of a person.
Tapping or swinging the foot can be a sign of impatience or a desire to finish the conversation as soon as possible.
Drumming on a table with pen or pencil often means simple boredom. Apparently, your listener got tired of listening to you.
Slumping on a chair may reveal a lazy and haughty personality.
Shoulders shrug indicates that a person does not believe in what it has been said even if it was said by this person.
Ear scratching is a giveaway of a hesitative nature and indecisiveness to make final decision.
Face touching could be a sign of nervousness and/or dishonesty.
Rotating the neck from side to side could be a signal that a person is under stress or…just flirting.
Hands rubbing typically means that a person is worrying about something.
To learn more about other people's body language it is necessary to improve upon your attentiveness. Watching your own body language signs could also give your great insight.
The Most Listed People on Twitter~
As Twitter lists emerged and became more popular, Listorius emerged to tell us all about it. They bring us a curated collection of lists from within a wide array of categories and you can also see how many people are actually following those lists. It is possible to look through lists according to keyword tags and is also possible to see how many people are included on lists.
If you are on Twitter you may have heard of #follow Friday’s, which was a trend early on among tweeps to suggest various interesting people for others to follow. Twitter lists are basically an extension of this philosophy and you can recommend cool people by creating a list of these characters. Other people can then view your list and opt to follow the people on it or follow the list in its entirety.
Below is a list of the Most Listed People on Twitter!
The Most Listed People on Twitter
(The Listorious 140 Twitterers)
1 Kevin Green on 1,015 lists
2 Sean Gardner on 3,043 lists
3 Kevin Green on 3,018 lists
4 Formulists on 3,004 lists
5 Derek Haines, Author on 2,902 lists
6 Jefferson Boggs on 2,849 lists
7 Pete Cashmore on 2,845 lists
8 Empire of the Kop on 2,830 lists
9 Ann Tran on 2,729 lists
10 Guy Kawasaki on 2,345 lists
11 @ModelSupplies on 2,231 lists
12 paul steele on 2,022 lists
13 Robert Kong Hai on 1,967 lists
14 The Job Guy on 1,963 lists
15 RayBeckerman on 1,933 lists
16 Liz Strauss on 1,902 lists
17 Chris Brogan on 1,877 lists
18 Eleesha on 1,863 lists
19 Sharon Hayes on 1,847 lists
20 Reg Saddler on 1,823 lists
21 Lolly Daskal on 1,728 lists
22 Nikolay Korzinov on 1,705 lists
23 Jessica Northey on 1,682 lists
24 Pramit J Nathan on 1,680 lists
25 Bill Zucker on 1,649 lists
26 Barack Obama on 1,641 lists
27 Karl Detken ProDJ on 1,623 lists
28 Bebe on 1,602 lists
29 TweetSmarter on 1,556 lists
30 Adam from Twibes on 1,534 lists
31 Kim Sherrell on 1,522 lists
32 Ruhani Rabin on 1,517 lists
33 Liverpool FC on 1,516 lists
34 PennyPirate on 1,510 lists
35 TeamListBack ✓ on 1,465 lists
36 Twitter on 1,459 lists
37 Nisse Enér on 1,456 lists
38 Susan Elaine Cooper on 1,421 lists
39 Jason Pollock on 1,406 lists
40 Brasil Negócios Web on 1,394 lists
41 #TeamFollowBack on 1,373 lists
42 TechCrunch on 1,369 lists
43 Bella on 1,357 lists
44 Rami Kantari on 1,346 lists
45 Maureen W on 1,330 lists
46 Darren Rowse on 1,325 lists
47 Robert Scoble on 1,313 lists
48 Glen Gilmore, Esq. on 1,268 lists
49 Lovyst Going on 1,263 lists
50 LoriMoreno on 1,259 lists
51 Aaron Lee on 1,258 lists
52 LauraFitton oneforty on 1,257 lists
53 Paul V Harris on 1,254 lists
54 Sung Lee on 1,245 lists
55 dahara on 1,231 lists
56 Douglas Idugboe on 1,230 lists
57 Dickie Mindler ✔ on 1,228 lists
58 Brian Solis on 1,227 lists
59 Jazz Baker on 1,222 lists
60 denis malov on 1,221 lists
61 Vivian Monteban on 1,220 lists
62 Victoria on 1,220 lists
63 Lady Gaga on 1,218 lists
64 Pleasure Ellis on 1,207 lists
65 Chris Luzader on 1,203 lists
66 Claude Bouchard on 1,203 lists
67 Bill Gates on 1,202 lists
68 Jessica de la Davies on 1,196 lists
69 Xan Pearson on 1,191 lists
70 Steve Keating CSE on 1,190 lists
71 ashton kutcher on 1,190 lists
72 Luiz Eduardo on 1,188 lists
73 Gary Vaynerchuk on 1,133 lists
74 Mari Smith on 1,127 lists
75 Udi S on 1,116 lists
76 Aimee Pilz on 1,112 lists
77 Michael Bermant, MD on 1,100 lists
78 Hepatitis Infected on 1,099 lists
79 Justin Bieber on 1,094 lists
80 Milo Moon on 1,087 lists
81 For Madeleine McCann on 1,081 lists
82 Martin Zwilling on 1,074 lists
83 Blair Semenoff on 1,072 lists
84 Shelly Kramer on 1,071 lists
85 Love Gold Coast on 1,058 lists
86 ReadWriteWeb on 1,043 lists
87 Alyssa Milano on 1,040 lists
88 Samuel Lemieux on 1,039 lists
89 roger chaple on 1,038 lists
90 Jean-Sébastien J. on 1,036 lists
91 Daniel Stoica on 1,032 lists
92 Yoko Ono on 1,014 lists
93 Better Resume Svc. on 1,013 lists
94 Bille Baty on 1,011 lists
95 oleg uko on 1,003 lists
96 Ellen DeGeneres on 999 lists
97 List Leader on 996 lists
98 Eric Jonas Swensson on 996 lists
99 Luke Romyn on 990 lists
100 Dan Schawbel on 986 lists
101 Charlie on 985 lists
102 More Traffic on 984 lists
103 Jean-Luc Raymond on 984 lists
104 The New York Times on 983 lists
105 Joseph Jett on 981 lists
106 WGPA SUNNY 1100 AM on 981 lists
107 Greg Wilson on 979 lists
108 Anthony, PhD on 972 lists
109 A Googler on 965 lists
110 Newsworthy News on 964 lists
111 thomas clifford on 960 lists
112 Calvin Lee on 959 lists
113 debra cincioni on 953 lists
114 Algernon Fross on 952 lists
115 Russ Leseberg on 952 lists
116 Iconic88 on 950 lists
117 Katrina Hill on 949 lists
118 Social Media News on 947 lists
119 Spartacus Pustota on 945 lists
120 Bill Mitchell on 945 lists
121 MARCOME on 939 lists
122 Oprah Winfrey on 938 lists
123 Judy Rey Wasserman on 934 lists
124 J.L.Hensley on 933 lists
125 Gina Stark on 933 lists
126 Larry Wentz on 924 lists
127 Diana Adams on 921 lists
128 Scott Stratten on 920 lists
129 Ann Handley on 918 lists
130 Antonio J Campos on 917 lists
131 Kevin - Resume Prof on 915 lists
132 Sarah Evans on 912 lists
133 Penny Stocks on 911 lists
134 Paul Solomon on 910 lists
135 Sebastian St. George on 904 lists
136 CNN Breaking News on 903 lists
137 Success Wallpapers on 896 lists
138 YouTube on 894 lists
139 CHRIS VOSS on 891 lists
140 Cynthia Yildirim on 884 lists
Flush with $100 million in new funding, Square is continuing to grow like a weed in the mobile payments space. After passing the $3 million mark at the end of May, Square is now processing $4 million in mobile payments daily, and is on track to reach over $100 million in transactions in July. And COO Keith Rabois tells us that he expects the company to double this volume by October.
In late June, Square raised a massive round of funding, which valued the company above $1 billion. At the time of the announcement, it was revealed that Square was processing nearly $4 million in payments per day, but the company has surpassed that mark a month later. Rabois tells us international expansion is part of the next phase of growth. He expects to initial launch payments capabilities outside of the U.S. in 2012.
And iPad usage of Square is on the rise, especially after the company launched a disruptive new iPad app to replace cash registers and loyalty cards. The breakdown in terms of usage are iPad (21%), iPhone (45%), iPod (3%) and Android (31%).
In the past year, Square has shipped more than 500,000 credit card readers, is processing more than a million transactions per month. And Square devices are now sold in Apple Stores.
Basically, if you didn’t take Square seriously, perhaps you should reconsider.
What distinguishes great entrepreneurs? Discussions of entrepreneurial psychology typically focus on creativity, tolerance for risk, and the desire for achievement—enviable traits that, unfortunately, are not very teachable. So Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, set out to determine how expert entrepreneurs think, with the goal of transferring that knowledge to aspiring founders. While still a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, Sarasvathy—with the guidance of her thesis supervisor, the Nobel laureate Herbert Simon—embarked on an audacious project: to eavesdrop on the thinking of the country's most successful entrepreneurs as they grappled with business problems. She required that her subjects have at least 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, have started multiple companies—both successes and failures—and have taken at least one company public.
Sarasvathy identified 245 U.S. entrepreneurs who met her criteria, and 45 of them agreed to participate. (Responses from 27 appeared in her conclusions; the rest were reserved for subsequent studies. Thirty more helped shape the questionnaire.) Revenue at the subjects' companies—all run by the founders at that time—ranged from $200 million to $6.5 billion, in industries as diverse as toys and railroads. Sarasvathy met personally with all of her subjects, including such luminaries as Dennis Bakke, founder of energy giant AES; Earl Bakken of Medtronic; and T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor. She presented each with a case study about a hypothetical start-up and 10 decisions that the founder of such a company would have to make in building the venture. Then she switched on a tape recorder and let the entrepreneur talk through the problems for two hours. Sarasvathy later collaborated with Stuart Read, of the IMD business school in Switzerland, to conduct the same experiment with professional managers at large corporations—the likes of Nestlé, Philip Morris, and Shell. Sarasvathy and her colleagues are now extending their research to novice entrepreneurs and both novice and experienced professional investors.
Sarasvathy concluded that master entrepreneurs rely on what she calls effectual reasoning. Brilliant improvisers, the entrepreneurs don't start out with concrete goals. Instead, they constantly assess how to use their personal strengths and whatever resources they have at hand to develop goals on the fly, while creatively reacting to contingencies. By contrast, corporate executives—those in the study group were also enormously successful in their chosen field—use causal reasoning. They set a goal and diligently seek the best ways to achieve it. Early indications suggest the rookie company founders are spread all across the effectual-to-causal scale. But those who grew up around family businesses will more likely swing effectual, while those with M.B.A.'s display a causal bent. Not surprisingly, angels and seasoned VCs think much more like expert entrepreneurs than do novice investors.
The following is a summary of some of the study's conclusions, illustrated with excerpts from the interviews. Understanding the entrepreneurs' comments requires familiarity with what they were evaluating. The case study and questions are too long to reproduce here. But briefly: Subjects were asked to imagine themselves as the founder of a start-up that had developed a computer game simulating the experience of launching a company. The game and ancillary materials were described as tools for teaching entrepreneurship. Subjects responded to questions about potential customers, competitors, pricing, marketing strategies, growth opportunities, and related issues. (The full case study and questions can be found here.)
Quotes have been edited for length, though we wish we had room to run them in their entirety. Sarasvathy remained almost silent throughout, forcing the founders to answer their own questions and externalize their thinking in the process. The transcripts, riddled with "ums" and "ers," doublings-back on assumptions, and references to personal rules of thumb, read like verbal MRIs of the entrepreneurial brain in action.
Do the doable, then push it
Sarasvathy likes to compare expert entrepreneurs to Iron Chefs: at their best when presented with an assortment of motley ingredients and challenged to whip up whatever dish expediency and imagination suggest. Corporate leaders, by contrast, decide they are going to make Swedish meatballs. They then proceed to shop, measure, mix, and cook Swedish meatballs in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible.
That is not to say entrepreneurs don't have goals, only that those goals are broad and—like luggage—may shift during flight. Rather than meticulously segment customers according to potential return, they itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, a principle Sarasvathy calls affordable loss. Repeatedly, the entrepreneurs in her study expressed impatience with anything that smacked of extensive planning, particularly traditional market research. (Inc.'s own research backs this up. One survey of Inc. 500 CEOs found that 60 percent had not written business plans before launching their companies. Just 12 percent had done market research.)
When asked what kind of market research they would conduct for their hypothetical start-up, most of Sarasvathy's subjects responded with variations on the following:
"OK, I need to know which of their various groups of students, trainees, and individuals would be most interested so I can target the audience a little bit more. What other information...I've never done consumer marketing, so I don't really know. I think probably...I think mostly I'd just try to...I would...I wouldn't do all this, actually. I'd just go sell it. I don't believe in market research. Somebody once told me the only thing you need is a customer. Instead of asking all the questions, I'd try and make some sales. I'd learn a lot, you know: which people, what were the obstacles, what were the questions, which prices work better. Even before I started production. So my market research would actually be hands-on actual selling."
"Ultimately, the best test of any product is to go to your target market and pretend like it's a real business. You'll find out soon enough if it is or not. You have to take some risks. You can sit and analyze these different markets forever and ever and ever, and you'd get all these wonderful answers, and they still may be wrong. The problem with the businessman type is they spend a lot of time with all their great wisdom and all their spreadsheets and all their Harvard Business Review people, and they'd either become convinced that there's no market at all or that they have the market nailed. And they'd go out there big time, with a lot of expensive advertising and upfront costs, because they're gonna overwhelm the market, and the business would go under."
The corporate executives were much more likely to want a quantitative analysis of market size:
"If I had a budget, I could ask a specialist in the field of education to go through data and give me ideas of how many universities, how many media, how many large companies I will have to contact to have an idea of the work that has to be done."
Sarasvathy explains that entrepreneurs' aversion to market research is symptomatic of a larger lesson they have learned: They do not believe in prediction of any kind. "If you give them data that has to do with the future, they just dismiss it," she says. "They don't believe the future is predictable...or they don't want to be in a space that is very predictable." That attitude is a bit like Voltaire's assertion that the perfect is the enemy of the good. In this case, the careful forecast is the enemy of the fortuitous surprise:
"I always live by the motto of 'Ready, fire, aim.' I think if you spend too much time doing 'Ready, aim, aim, aim,' you're never going to see all the good things that would happen if you actually started doing it. I think business plans are interesting, but they have no real meaning, because you can't put in all the positive things that will occur...If you know intrinsically that this is possible, you just have to find out how to make it possible, which you can't do ahead of time."
That said, Sarasvathy points out that her entrepreneurs did adopt more formal research and planning practices over time. Their ability to do so—to become causal as well as effectual thinkers—helped this enduring group grow with their companies.
Woo partners first
Entrepreneurs' preference for doing the doable and taking it from there is manifest in their approach to partnerships. While corporate executives know exactly where they are going and follow a prescribed path to get there, entrepreneurs allow whomever they encounter on the journey—suppliers, advisers, customers—to shape their businesses.
"I would literally target...key companies who I would call flagship: do a frontal lobotomy on them. There are probably a dozen of those I would pick. Some entrepreneurial operations that would probably be smaller but have a global presence where I'm dealing with the challenges of international sales...Building rapport with partners, with joint-venture colleagues as well as with ultimate users....The challenge then is really to pick your partners and package yourself early on before you have to put a lot of capital out."
Chief among those influential partners are first customers. The entrepreneurs anticipated customer help on product design, sales, and identifying suppliers. Some even saw their first customer as their best investor.
"People chase investors, but your best investor is your first real customer. And your customers are also your best salesmen."
Sarasvathy says expert entrepreneurs have learned the hard way that "having even one real customer on board with you is better than knowing in a hands-off way 10 things about a thousand customers." Merely gathering information from a large number of potential customers, she says, "increases all the different things you could do but doesn't tell you what you should do." Toward that end, many of her subjects described their preference for an almost anthropological approach to customer interaction: observing a few customers as they work or actually working alongside them.
"You can't go out and survey customers and say, 'OK, what kinda car do you really want?' I believe very much in living it. If you're gonna write a book about stevedores, go work as a stevedore for a period of time. My company was going to design and sell products for physical therapy, so I worked in rehab medicine for two years."
Corporate executives, by contrast, generally envisioned more traditional vendor-customer interactions, such as focus groups.
"I would like to get from them...by meeting with them or getting their input on what they think of the limitation of existing programs....just kind of sit and listen to them telling me...what new features they'd like. And I'd just listen to them talk, talk, talk and then be thinking and develop something between what they want and what's possible technically."
Sarasvathy says executives rely less on firsthand insights, because they can afford to place bets on multiple segments and product versions. "Entrepreneurs don't have that luxury," she says.
Sweat competitors later
The study's corporate subjects focused intently on potential competitors, as eager for information about other vendors as about customers. "The corporate guys are like hunter-gatherers," says Sarasvathy. "They are hired to win market share, so they concentrate fiercely on who is in the marketplace. The first thing they do is map out the lay of the land."
"What information do I want about my competition? I want to see what kinds of resources they have. Do they have computer programmers? Do they have educational experts? Do they have teachers and trainers who can roll out this product? Do they have a support structure in place? Geographically, where are they situated? Have they got one center or lots of centers? Are they doing this just in English, or do they have different languages? I'd be wanting to look at the finances of these companies....I'd probably be looking at their track record to see what kind of approach they take to marketing and advertising so I know what to expect. I might look and see what people they hire, see if I can hire away someone who might have experience."
By the time entrepreneurs start seeking investment, of course, they should be as far inside competitors' heads as they can get. But the study subjects generally expressed little concern about the competition at launch.
"Your competition is a secondary factor. I think you are putting the cart before the horse...Analyze whether you think you can be successful or not before you worry about the competitors."
"At one time in our company, I ordered our people not to think about competitors. Just do your job. Think only of your work. Now that isn't entirely possible. Now, in fact, competitive information is very valuable. But I wanted to be sure that we didn't worry about competitors. And to that end, I gave the annual plan to every employee. And they said, 'Well, aren't you afraid your competitors are gonna get this information and get an advantage?' I said, 'It's much riskier to not have your employees know what you need to do than it is to run the risk of competitors finding out. Cause they'll find out somehow anyway. But if one of your employees doesn't know why they're doing their job, then you're really losing out.'"
Entrepreneurs fret less about competitors, Sarasvathy explains, because they see themselves not in the thick of a market but on the fringe of one, or as creating a new market entirely. "They are like farmers, planting a seed and nurturing it," she says. "What they care about is their own little patch of ground."
Don't limit yourself
Corporate managers believe that to the extent they can predict the future, they can control it. Entrepreneurs believe that to the extent they can control the future, they don't need to predict it. That may sound like monumental hubris, but Sarasvathy sees it differently, as an expression of entrepreneurs' confidence in their ability to recognize, respond to, and reshape opportunities as they develop. Entrepreneurs thrive on contingency. The best ones improvise their way to an outcome that in retrospect feels ordained.
So although many corporate managers in Sarasvathy's study wanted more information about the product and market landscape, some entrepreneurs pushed back on the small amount of information provided as being too limiting. For example, the description of the product as a computer game for entrepreneurship:
"I would cast it not as a product but as a family of products, which might perform a broader function like helping people make career decisions. I always look for broad market opportunities."
"I wanna use this product as a platform to attract other products literally to build a market-share play. I see this as a missionary product, an entrée into some of the best users and buyers."
The most fascinating part of the study relates to the product's potential. Asked about growth opportunities, the corporate managers mostly restricted their comments to the game as described:
"It depends on how it's marketed. I'm a little bit skeptical....I'm not certain entrepreneurs would go for that. Maybe they think they already know everything. But in terms of simulations for business schools or in further education, they seem to be very popular. And entrepreneurship degrees seem to be very popular as well. So, yeah, it could well be a lot of growth."
Here is where the entrepreneurs really let loose. Starting with the same information as one another and as the executives, they collectively spun out opportunities in 18 markets—not just academic institutions but also venture capital firms, consultancies, government agencies, and the military. As much as the ability to concoct new products, it is this tendency to riff off whatever ideas or materials are handy that defines entrepreneurs as a creative breed. Reading the transcripts, you can almost hear the enthusiasm mounting in their voices as the possibilities unfold:
"This company could make a few people rich, but I don't think it could ever be huge...You might have a successful second product about how to succeed and get promoted within a large company....That would give you a market of everybody with aspirations at IBM, AT&T, Exxon, etc....You could make another product for students. How do I graduate in the top 10 percent of my class at Stanford or Harvard or Yale?...A lot about how to be a good student is teachable. Now you've got a product you can sell to every student in the country. Next there is negotiation. You could practice being a good negotiator. There's not a salesman in the United States who wouldn't buy one of those. Then you could genericize the thing to any situation which requires some sort of technical knowledge. Or learning situations within companies where you are trying to get people to understand that company's methods or objectives. So maybe I'm gonna change my opinion about the growth potential. It's easy to see how within an hour you could name 10 products that would each address huge markets, like all employees in Fortune 500 companies, who are rich enough to pay $100 for it. It could be a hit on the scale of the Lotus spreadsheet. You can see a several-hundred-million-dollar company coming from it."
You might also glean from the preceding that entrepreneurs are eternal optimists. But you don't need an academic study to tell you that.
Think Facebook and Twitter are all you need to get the word out about your new business? Here are eight more ways to get some media attention.
Now that you’ve made the bold move of opening up your own business, you’re likely faced with the challenge of spreading the word about your goods or services to potential customers. One of the most cost-effective ways to build buzz around your start-up is to get it covered by the media, either local or national. But how does one go about doing that, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire a PR firm?
While getting actively involved in your company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed is essential these days, and using those same tools to follow the media outlets that cover your industry, it might be enough to attract the attention you want. What follows, then, are additional tips from fellow business owners about how to get press for your new business using both tried-and-true methods as well as the benefits you can reap from tapping the latest in social media technology to get your business some media attention.
Capitalize on Other Low-Cost Social Media Tools
While you might equate social media with Facebook and Twitter, there are plenty of other options to attract the attention of the media, says Mike Samson, co-founder ofcrowdSPRING, the online marketplace for logo and web design, who suggests posting press releases on sites like:PRWeb.com, Free Press Release, and PRLog.com.
Samson also suggests answering media inquiries from reporters on sites like HARO, Reporters Connection, Pitch Rate, and NewsBasis. “When a writer needs sources for an upcoming story, they post on these sites seeking people who can help,” says Samson.
Read more on social media.
Another option is to check sites like MediaBistro.com, since many publications post their editorial calendars—which preview the kinds of stories they will be running—on the site. “The fee for joining is very minimal and you can learn a lot about how to pitch certain media publications,” says Phyllis Cheung of LuxeFinds.com, a luxury lifestyle search engine for women.
While every business should be doing whatever it can to take advantage of online tools to promote itself, that doesn’t mean you should neglect tried-and-true methods of interpersonal interactions, as well. “Pick up the phone,” says Ryan Carlin, a PR expert who works with start-up sites like Roaming Hunger, a site that tracks, profiles, and provides menus for food trucks around the country. “In an age where 'silent' business like e-mail is possible and often preferred, it undoubtedly makes an impact by picking up the phone. Not only does it establish trust, but it also creates a more solid relationship for future media outreach.”
Along those same lines, Cheung of Luxefinds.com says that she attends networking events in her local area if she knows that journalists and editors will be in attendance. “I introduce myself and we chat about anything from current news in my industry to what I’m doing that is relevant to potential stories they have in the pipeline,” she says, noting that she landed a story with Entrepreneur after meeting the editor-in-chief of the magazine at such an event. “Most of these events are two hours long and can be either free or low cost.”
Get more tips on networking.
For start-ups, there are many advantages to partnering with more established companies—especially if you can reap some press opportunities out of them, saysTamara Clarke, who owns Eco-Exquisite, which makes and sells a line of hair accessories. “By leveraging the media relationships of seasoned companies, start-ups can also spare themselves some time on the bench while trying to get in the game,” says Clarke, who teamed up with one of her clients, Glambar Salon in Atlanta, in publicizing their Second Anniversary Girl’s Club event. The result was that Clarke’s product, the EcoSOQ Natural Sleep Cap, was featured in several blogs and publications, like Essence and Rolling Out magazines. Read more
Over the weekend a few years back, I had an opportunity to accompany my sister to visit a friend of hers in the hospital -- initially, I must admit that I thought this was so unfair of her to ask me to go with her when we both knew that it would be hours of me just sitting there, waiting instead of working on my business. Why couldn't I just drive her there and pick her back up?
Obviously, she needed more than just that so I geared up for the hours of waiting I knew was ahead of me.... Unless I am giving birth or welcoming a new baby into the world, I DO NOT Like Visiting Hospitals!
So, we loaded up with hot pretzels and cheese, water and mango candy (her favorite) and a book tucked into my tote and headed off to Westchester Medical's Trauma Unit to visit my sister's friend. I went in briefly to support her and then took my seat in the "family" waiting room, while she continued visiting with her friend.
For the next 3 hours I sat with no computer, no kids, no phones ringing off the hook, no interruptions. Sure, I had my smart phone but somehow tweeting did not seem appropriate at that moment. I reached into my tote and pulled out my book "It's About Time, Time Management Tips From the Software Recitalist" by Ellen DePasquale-- this would be a good time to polish off this book. It was a gift from Ellen DePasquale, a former breakout session presenter at our Annual Women's Summit.
As I read through the practical and useful tips, I came to a paragraph titled, schedule time to worry, but no more than 10 minutes a day. This was news to me! I had never heard (read) such a time-management tip before, but was pleasantly surprised that I welcomed the idea. I placed my book on my lap and took my 10 minutes to worry. I worried about being able to fulfill all these BIG dreams I have of affecting a positive change in the lives of women in business like me who have ventured into the world of entrepreneurship and whether I was doing enough! Well, 10 minutes is a long time when you are DELIBERATELY taking those minutes to worry! I wanted to get to finding solutions to my self-imposed worry and I began making notes -- in my book.
My Worry Solutions:
1. I commit to writing a blog post once per week and sharing whatever I am feeling in that moment—this could be of help to women who are experiencing similar feelings or in need of some new information or whatever I am moved to blog about.
2. I will ask for help when needed and delegate more--this will broaden my reach and reduce stress
3. I will list 5 things each week that I am proud of—my personal pat on the back journal—just for me (we can all find things we are proud of)
How are you worrying? Share your comments with us or below.
Starting a successful business is challenging and stressful. That's why 80% of small businesses don't last for more than 5 years. Of the 20% that do survive-only 20% of those will last another 5 years. So, what can you do in order to avoid going extinct like the rest of the small business owners?
1. Be Prepared To Sell
"Selling" has developed a negative stigma. If you want to run a successful company, recognize that sales and business development are critical. You'll need to fight tooth and nail to earn and keep every piece of business. You'll be competing with companies that have more resources, experience and better branding. Your customers will be buying YOU and the connection they make with you.
2. Remove Your "Expert" Hat And Become A Leader And Businessperson (Sometimes) If you are designer, and love to design, be prepared to sacrifice a significant amount of your design time to manage employees, find new customers, manage your books, fix the phones, take out the garbage, manage vendors and the list goes on. If in your heart, you only want to "design"- then I recommend you work for another company, or do freelance work. However, your expertise in a specific field will still play a very important role in ensuring that your employees meet your standards. Don't ever sacrifice your high standards.
3. Outsource One of the smartest moves our business made was to outsource our accounting and bookkeeping. Instead of spending hours each week tracking our books, I currently stick everything in an envelope and hand it to our accounting partner, who provides outstanding accurate monthly reports. I now have more time to grow our business, and better information to make informed decisions. Some additional areas to consider outsourcing include networking/computer support, janitorial, payroll and design. I highly recommend hiring a company that will charge a flat monthly fee rather than an hourly fee. This will incentivize them to do the job correctly up front, and allow you to budget for their services.
4. Hire Good People Get ready, your highest expense is going to be payroll. Take your time to find the RIGHT person. The wrong employee can make your life miserable, and sink your company. The right individual(s) can make your company fun, productive and very profitable.
5. Start Small, Think Big Now, I stated, "think big", but what I should propose is, "think of your end result". If your goal is to run one small café, then work towards that objective. If you want to own 50 café's then, make critical decisions based on that goal. That may include investing more capital in scalable equipment and more experienced employees, so that in 1-2 years you are better prepared for rapid growth. But most importantly, be prepared to sweat, suffer, and never be happier as you pursue your dream.
One would think working from home is the perfect dream, but for many women entrepreneurs it can become a nightmare. Being home, surrounded by potential chores all day, can really take its toll on our psyche (and our productivity!) Distractions range from our favorite daytime TV programs just a click away, to the calling of a sunny day, to the arrival of our children and husbands.
Here are some tips for keeping your sanity while working from home:
Believing In Yourself Limitations can either define us or give us a challenge to outwit. When you look at your abilities, do you see boundaries and limits, or do you see possibilities and potential? Obsessing about weaknesses can blind us to the untapped abilities we already have. Tap into your talent. You have talent. Everyone does. The secret to success is to find that talent, develop it and push it as far as you can. Anna Mary Robertson Moses “Grandma Moses” might have been a lousy bowler, Einstein probably couldn't sing a lick, Michelangelo could've been unable to speak well in public. So what? They knew what they were good at and rode that pony. Your talent might be right in front of you: where do you get the most compliments? What seems to come easily to you? What do people ask your advice for? Live there. Don't let the rest get in the way.